Ever so occasionally I’m accused of being city centre centric. Hey, the clue's in the name. Boutiques in Birmingham regularly get shout outs ‘cuz I’m basically a self-appointed B'ham indie cheerleader. But I’ve got nothing against the ‘burbs and there are gems to be found outside of B1 to B5, either a short drive away or a bit further afield. But all less than an hour from Grand Central. Pom-poms optional.
Our sweet sweet home is the City of a Thousand Trades. One of those trades has got an entire blooming quarter named after it. So rather than just strolling past the windows and admiring the shiny sparkly things, why not get involved, learn some jewellery-making skills and inevitably become the next Cartier*? *I accept no responsibility for you not becoming the next Cartier.
You’re either Team Read The Book First (and then watch the film or play after), or firmly from the movie-watching-then-giving-the-book-a-go school of thought. Whichever one you fall into, The Rep is delivering the adaptations this season. Now you just need to decide if you’ve got to finish the text before you go.
If someone blindfolded you, put you on a train at New Street, and removed the blindfold only after pushing you through the doors of Sky By The Water, you probably wouldn’t think you were at Resorts World, or even in Birmingham. You’d probably also be like “Why did you blindfold me? That was kind of traumatic” but then “Wow this place is beautiful, can I live here now?”
Sartorial savants are turning their hands to hospitality like it's going out of, well, fashion. And this bunch are all almost rudely reachable from Birmingham.
Absolutely bossing Veganuary and considering keeping it up for... Febganuary? Luckily for you, me and our tastebuds, these folks are catering for the considerable plant-based demand with some new and all nice lil dishes. Now back to that name. Vegbruary? Feganruary?
I got eight hours of uninterrupted sleep on Friday night — those deep, refreshing sort of zzzs I'd give up most of what I own to guarantee on a regular basis. And the cause?
It’s sale season and it feels like every retailer everywhere is aggressively flogging their wares at you, whilst you’re at your Dry-Jan-vulnerablest. To save trawling through them all, only to realise there’s just a measly quid off the original price, here are some big savings from some of my fave High Street brands. All for less than the cost of a month's gym membership.
Every two years I make the same mistake. I chop off all my hair thinking I can pull off a chic, tousled cool-girl lob. Then I walk out of the salon, holding back tears of remorse and spend the next 24 months willing it to grow until it's waist length, by which point I'm bored and cut it off again. But this is a different kind of image change.
Hey, we know we’re not the first people to write a gift guide in December. So sue us (please don’t).
Italian food. Fine fine dining. Ridiculously strong décor by Tibbatts Abel; the same people that did Saint Paul's House and Opheem, Aktar Islam's other joint over the road. It’s very hard to find anything not to love about Legna, the newbie to Fleet Street (that's basically Summer Row to the uninitiated).
It's an hour until curtain-up and I'm sitting next to a ballet dancer, a real life ballet dancer. Unbelievably graceful despite still being in jogging bottoms, Céline Gittens, Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal, is transforming herself into the Rose Fairy for the evening's performance of The Nutcracker. And the humble, strong, knowing 30-year-old is simultaneously talking to me about ballet, Birmingham and burgers...
What kind of Christmas decorator are you, are you a traditionalist that only uses red and gold decs, or are you more into, say, hanging sushi and avocado baubles? Whichever team you fall into, can we just all agree that you should probably have a balloon dog on your tree this year?
Decapitated Barbies and pig-shaped macarons with eighties bangers for your soundtrack isn't exactly what you might think of when someone invites you for a spot of afternoon tea. But when this is the invite and chef patron Alex Claridge is the one in charge, you're not in normal town anymore. You're in new kid on the neon block, Nocturnal Animals.
As you walk into Gas Hall, a huge holographic wall stretches out to the left, brandished with the words Women, Power, Protest. We all know BMAG don’t shy away from sensitive subjects (oh hey Coming Out), neither do they do sensationalism. For this show, they've created a space that's accessible for everyone despite the pretty intense subject matter. But joyously, the overtly glittery, pink, "feminine" aesthetics continue throughout.
You might expect a play based on a novel written 119 years ago to be a little, shall we say… old-fashioned. Well, let The Rep’s upcoming showing of Heart of Darkness, originally written by Joseph Conrad, change your mind.
I was 16 when The Lovely Bones was published, just two years older than the main character, Susie Salmon, who has been murdered and is now trapped in some kind of in-between. The heavy subject matter made waves through my school year, and in particular me and my angsty group of pals, but the story doesn’t seem like the easiest thing to translate to stage. We talked to designer Ana Inés Jabares-Pita about the challenges of creating a set showing both the everyday and the afterlife.
Give your Instagram feed an uplift by following some local female talent. These illustrators’ joyful posts will uplift your scrolling time and at the same time you're supporting independent artists. It's a win win.
Allergies and intolerances can be super serious and it's vital to get them properly diagnosed. It's also good to get tested rather than self-diagnosing and being overly reliant on WebMD.
If you’re teetotal, just cutting down, or fully throwing yourself into Sober October, going alcohol-free doesn’t have to mean sipping on a flat Pepsi Max from a tap all night. We’ve spoken to cocktail experts for their favourite virgin versions, for you to try at home. Your fanciest drinking receptacle is absolutely necessary, a muddler is optional (but makes you feel the part).
Unless you’ve got a sizeable trust fund to rely on, (in which case, can we be friends?) you probably have to work. We spend more than 13 years of our lives at work, on average. So it's not too much to ask that you actually do something you enjoy. Right? Whether you feel a bit stuck in a rut, or are thinking of a complete career overhaul, it's good to talk it through. We spoke to life coach Dr Lalitaa Suglani from Virgin Care Private, who gave us some very actionable actions to help us, and also you.
Got the fam coming to stay from out of town, or just after a short get-away minus the motorway time? Knowing the best city centre hotels to bed down at is good, but knowing the specific room to book is waaaaay better. We’ve got the insider info and to be quite honest, brownie points from the in-laws are imminent. You are welcome.
One egg is un oeuf, but two is waaaaay better at Purnell's, where the classics are classics for a reason. We could talk about at least five of the dishes we sampled in the Cornwall Street dining room, but we're going to focus entirely on two, which are as happy-making as they are accomplished.
Soft spot for slogan tees? Us too. Take it to the next level by adorning yourself with B’ham based localisms. Wear this second city merch with pride and support some local business babs at the same time.
New Year fitness resolutions are so cliché — there’s no better time to start your new favourite workout than RIGHT NOW. Well, maybe finish reading the email first. Then go. If good ol’ fashioned gymming ain’t doing it for you, give these nothing-to-do-with-a-treadmill activities a go.
I’ve just moved house and I can hardly bear living with a light fitting I didn’t choose. The thought of completely gutting a place before making it habitable again makes my head hurt. These local ladies have taken on projects that would make Kevin McCloud wince — and they've come out the other side. If you're crazy enough to want to follow in their tracks, we've picked their brains for valuable how-tos and the mistakes to avoid.
We like J.Crew. We all caps LOVE when Birmingham women are recognised for their gorgey creative wonderfulness. Imagine our delight on hearing of the collaboration between B’ham pattern designer, Abigail Borg and J.Crew for an Autumn capsule collection, a perfect combo of the two.
When you think of comedy, you probably don’t associate it with kindness. Sweeping generalisations, jokes at the expense of others, and best of British to you if you're sitting on the front row.
Pretty sure we've never heard of anything more wholesome than a walking tour looking at the lovely letterboxes of the Jewellery Quarter. The cute Georgian details remain hidden in plain sight in our urban landscape. Learn more about the city's history and architecture on the next tour.